Jelling kirke, Gorms grav

Jelling kirke, Gorms grav
Jelling kirke, Gorms grav

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Family Bjørn

Bjørn, Danish ancient nobility-family, origins from Fyn (Funen) and possibly related to the families Munk from Fjellebro and Stoile in Halland, whose coat of arms likewise shows a bear's paw. The Bjørn family goes back to Oluf Bjørnsen (1310) of Stensgård at Fyn, who was the paternal grandfather of Oluf Bjørnsen Bjørn ( + 1381) of Stensgård, whose sons were rigsråd Johan Olufsen Bjørn (ment. betw. 1377 and 1416) and rigsråd Bjørn Olufsen (+ ab. 1434) of Stensgård. The last mentioned was the father of Jachim Bjørn (+ bef. 1467) and of rigsråd Johan Bjørnsen Bjørn (ment. betw. 1433 and 1472) of Nielstrup, whose son Bjørn Johansen Bjørn (ment. betw. 1457-1503) of Voldby was the father of Johan Bjørnsen Bjørn ( + ab. 1533) of Nielstrup, Stensgård and Voldby. Above mentioned Jachim Bjørn was the paternal grandfather of Bjørn Andersen Bjørn (ment. betw. 1490 and 1507) of Stenalt, whose son's son, rigsråd Bjørn Andersen Bjørn (1532-83) was the father of Jacob Bjørn (1591-96), who died as the last male of his family.Several civil families have used this name.
(Albert Fabritius)

Bjørn Andersen Bjørn of Stenalt ( mentioned between 1490 and 1507) was the father of Anne Bjørnsdatter Bjørn, who was married to Niels Kaas of Taarupgård og Staarupgård. They had four sons, Bjørn, Jens, Jørgen and Niels Kaas.
( forfædrelinie I og III)

Bjørn Andersen Bjørn, + earliest 1507 of Stenalt, nobleman. Buried in Frue kirke in Aalborg. Parents Anders Jacobsen Bjørn of Vorgård (+1490) and Anne Lauridsdatter Muus of Stenalt. Married to Anne Henriksdatter Friis of Odden, (+ 1542) ( who was married second time to rigsråd Ove Lunge ), a daughter of Henrik Friis of Stolliggård ) and Anne Olufsdatter Lunge of Odden.(Henrik Friis was married second time to Margrethe Mogensdatter Krabbe).

Bjørn Andersen Bjørn is mostly known for his participation in the kill of rigshofmester Poul Laxmand in 1502, probably shortly after this event he sought and had from king and rigsråd the verdict that he only in self-defence had assisted the instigagor Ebbe Strangesen. Neither Ebbe nor BAB were held responsible for the kill, they are on the contrary both mentioned in high positions; BAB as a vasal in Rougsø herred, and in 1507 at Ravnsborg.
(Danmarks Adelsårbog IV, 1887, s.91); (Dsk Mag.4 rk, VI 1886,s 287f); C.F.Allen: De tre nordiske rigers historie I, 1864, s. 282 ; E. Arup: Danmarks historie II 1932, s.296.

Bjørn Andersen Bjørn (the younger) 1532-83 of Vinstrup and Stenalt, rigsråd. , b. 30 July 1532 at Stenalt , d. 15. Oct. 1583 at Bjørnsholm, buried in Ørsted kirke.(Randers amt).Parents Anders Bjørnsen Bjørn of Stenalt, (d. bef. 1540) and Anne Gjordsdatter Drefeldt.
1) married to Sidsel Truidsdatter Ulfstand, d. 7 Aug. 1561, buried in Ørsted kirke, a daughter of Truid Gregersen Ulfstand of Torup and 1. wife;
2) married 29. June 1567 at Københavns slot to Karen Henriksdatter Friis, b. 21. Dec. 1541 at Ørbæklunde, buried 3. June 1601 in Ålborg Bodilskirke, a daughter of Henrik Friis of Ørbæklunde (1496-1571) and Margrethe Nielsdatter Bild (1508-71).

Bjørn Andersen Bjørn was landsdommer (High Court Judge) in Sjælland 1562-66, provisioner the same place 1563-66. Besides some lesser vasalries in Denmark and Norway he had Københavns slot and Aalborghus from 1580 until his death. 1567 he became rigsråd. By inheritance and marriage he collected considerable riches, in Jylland Stenalt and Voer, at Sjælland Vinstrup and Vinderup (now Eriksholm). He exchanged his sjællandske farms in 1573 with the king in return for the main part of Vitskøl kloster and other estate in Jylland. From Vitskøl kloster he established the main farm/manor Bjørnsholm, and at this as well as his other farms he partly let build new buildings, while he still took care of the belonging churches and schools. Bjørn Andersen Bjørn belonged to the historical interested circle within the højadelen (highest nobility), who supported the works of Anders Sørensen Vedel, and it was at his request that Hans Mogensen translated Philippe de Commine's Memoirs. - Grave stone with portrait in Ørsted kirke, Randers amt.
Danmarks adelsårbog, IV 1887, s.94 f.; Kancelliets brevbøger 1561-83, udg. v. L.Laursen, 1893-1903. Samme: Kronens skøder I, 1892. Samlinger til Fyens hist. og topogr. III 1865 s. 154, 156 f., 160, 163. Norske rigsregistranter, I og II 1861-63. Hans Mogensens oversættelse af Philippe de Commines Memoirer, udg. af Poul Nørlund 18913-19.

After Thiset's Danish text: grethe bachmann
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik Bricka
Project Runeberg

The Family Kaas

Ribe domkirke & Riberhus

Niels Lændi/Lendi - 1300, King Erik Menved's rigsråd,was in
1283 and probably still in 1296 Høvedsmand at Riberhus and
was closely connected to Ribe and surroundings. He founded
an altar in Ribe domkirke for his and his father Christiern Lendi's
souls; he had,together with the bishop, to appoint people of
Varde Syssel for ships' business. A son of Niels Lendi was later
bishop in Ribe, but it is also known that he owned Troldorp, a
long disappeared main farm in Sabro herred; one of his daughters
was married to Anders Stigsen Hvide, the famous marsk Stig's
son, and another daughter to Palne Jonsen of Støvring. As the
king's rigsråd Niels Lendi was in 1298 and 1300 forlover (guarant)
of the safe passage letters, which were issued for archbishop
Jens Grand and for the Norwegian king, and in 1307 he sealed
the letter of vasalry for hertug Christoffer on Sønderhalland and
Samsø.He was married to a daughter of Niels Peck or Niels
Kammermester and was probably dead already in 1310.

Kinch, Ribe bys Hist. I, 1, 30, ff.

After Thisets Danish text: grethe bachmannDansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik BrickaProject Runeberg.
Niels Lendi was the ancestor of the Kaas-family with a chevron
in their coat of arms. His son was hr. Jens Nielsen of Kaas.(who
is mentioned 1302-25). His daughter Margrethe Nielsdatter Lendi
was married to Anders Stigsen Hvide of Møllerup. Another
daughter Elne Nielsdatter Lendi of Troldorp was married to Palne
Jonsen Juul of Støvringgård. ( A daughter of Elne and Palne Jonsen
was Lisbeth Palnesdatter Juul, who was married to Niels Bugge
of Hald.)
(Source: P. Filtenborg: Sejer Olesen Leth og hans slægt)

Stårupgård,Højslev sogn,Viborg amt.

Danmarks Adelsårbog:
Kaas, Bjørn *1518, rigsråd, + 26 March 1581 at Bygholm,buried
in Højslev church (Viborg amt) Parents: Niels Kaas of Stårupgård
+ 1534 and Anne Bjørnsdatter Bjørn + 1539. Married 4. November
1554 at Stårupgård to Christence Nielsdatter Rotfeld; she was
buried 19. March 1601 in Bjersø kirke in Skåne, she was a daughter
of Niels Jensen Rotfeld of Bratskov, + earliest 1551, and Anne
Høgsdatter Banner of Eskær, + earliest 1553.

Bjørn Kaas was abroad 1540 and took part in 1548 as a member
of court in Chr. III's daughter Anne's wedding-procession to
Sachsen. After this he was in foreign active service and led
together with his brother Jens Kaas a private feud against the
city Lüneburg. After 1561-63, having been a vasal at Vordingborg
slot, he played a leading role as vasal in Skåne 1564, first at
Hälsingborg 1563-65. As a provisions-master in Skåne together
with Axel Viffert he was hardly free from responsibility of the
bad provisioning, which paralysed the strategy; on the other
hand he wasn't too compromised, since he 1565 replaced
rigshofmester Eiler Hardenberg as vasal at Malmøhus (until 1580),
as which he from time to time received government orders for
the whole province and continuing had considerable
co-responsibility for the army's supply, which seems during the
following years to function quite a lot better.

Together with other leading men in Skåne he summoned up
(several times) Skåne's peasants as a defense against
Swedish attacks and took part in leading a failed peasant
attack on Småland late 1567. In the beginning of the same
year he had been elected rigsråd and immediately after this
he led together with Frands Brockenhus a force to Norway,
where they with a reinforcement from Bergenhus forced the
Swedes to give up the siege of Akershus.

During the next years Bjørn Kaas got more diplomatic
assignments. He took especially a leading part during the
negotiations with Lübeck about the restoration of Bornholm,
which he together with another rigsråd received in the name
of the Danish government 1576. 1580-81 he was a vasal at
Bygholm slot.

Bjørn Kaas was the owner of a large estate. Besides the
family manor Stårupgård (main-building is his work) he had
Vangkær, Kærsgård and Ellinggård in Vendsyssel, Voergård
in Hellum herred, Tybjerggård at Sjælland and Bjersøholm
in Skåne. A part of his riches came from his wife.

Niels Hemmingsen dedicated his work "Livsens vej" to Bjørn
Kaas (1576).
A gravestone with portrait in Højslev kirke.(Viborg amt)

Stårupgård, the Great Hall

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon:
Kaas, Bjørn - 1581, of Stårupgård, rigsråd, belonged
to the Sparre-Kaas family and was a brother of  kansler
Niels Kaas. (+1594). In his youth he was a member of
the Danish court (hofsinde) and was in the entourage,
which in 1548 accompanied the king's daughter Anna
to Sachsen. Later he lived a  turbulent life abroad.
After his homecoming he had important vasalries,
Vordingborg 1561-63, Helsingborg 1563-65, Malmøhus
1565-80 and Bygholm 1580-81; also various pantelen(pawned vasalries) in Jutland and Skåne.

In March 1567 he became a member of rigsrådet, and
shortly after he and Fands Brockenhuus were sent on
a sea-expedition to Norway, where they fought at
Oslo, and after having got reinforcement from Bergenhus
they forced the Swedes to give up the siege of Akershus.
In the end of the same year he was one of the leaders of
an attack on Småland, which was not a success, since
the peasants of Skåne, the main force of the army,
mutinied, so the expedition had to be given up, and
after this he did not play a large role in the warfare.
At Malmøhus he had for several years  (1568-73) the
office to guard the state-prisoner,the earl of Bothwell.

Bjørn Kaas died 26. March 1581 at Bygholm slot. Besides
his family manor Stårupgård at Skive, (the still existing
main building is his work), he owned Vangkjær, Kjærsgård
and Ellinggård in Vendsyssel, Vorgård in Hellum herred,
Tybjerggård at Sjælland and Bjersøholm in Skåne, where
he also let build a new main building, (remains still
exist); in Copenhagen he also had estate. A part of
these riches was due to his wife Christence Nielsdatter
Rotfeld, who survived him (+ 1601). Niels Hemmingsen's
work "Livsens vej" (1570) is dedicated to Bjørn Kaas.

After C.F. Bricka's text: grethe bachmannDansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik BrickaProject Runeberg.

Tårupgård, Tårup sogn, Viborg amt.
Kaas, Jens 1516-78, a brother of Bjørn Kaas; it seems
that he together with Bjørn had a turbulent life abroad
in warfare. When a third brother Jørgen Kaas, caused
by a crowd in the city Lüneburg, had committed a kill in
1552, he was executed in the same city, although king
Christian III interceded for him ; the two brothers
declared open war against the city,and now it was the
city, who had to ask the king for help, so that he
could admonish the brothers to keep a peace.

Jens Kaas soon returned to his homeland, for in
1555-58 he was a vasal at Viskum len.(vasalry) When
the war with Sweden approached, Jens Kaas was sent
out to recruit lansquenets,but soon his experience in
warfare and his skills had a far more important use,
since he was entrusted with the important border
fortification Elsfborg which the Swedes had taken in
1564. It was a very difficult task; the castle was
ramshackled and with too few people, provisions
and munitions; furthermore were often mutinies
among the lansquenets, who quarrelled over lack
of pay; but Jens Kaas showed equal to the task,
and in spite of all efforts, the enemy did not succeed
in taking back Elfsborg. Hans Skovgård wrote already
in 1565 to hr. Mogens Gyldenstierne: "I sandhed
Jens Kaas gjør som en god Karl, man burde ikke at
forlade ham". (meaning that Jens Kaas should have
all the assistance he could get; he did his task so
well). So they succeeded in relieving him before it
was too late. Not until November 1569 left Jens
Kaas Elfsborg; he then had become the leader of
all the lansquenets, and in the end of the war
he led some expeditions into Sweden.

The last years of his life he spent in quiet. In 1567
he had got a lensbrev (vasalry) at Gudumlund, which
he in 1573 bought from the Crown; besides he owned
Vorgård in Hellum herred, which his mother's niece fru
Anne Bjørn had willed to him , and which his brother
Bjørn inherited after him. He had some large vasalries
too; Silkeborg 1573-77 and Aalborghus from 1577
until his death, 14. December 1578. Jens Kaas lived in
a childless marriage with Margrethe Lange, a sister of
the alchymist Erik Lange. She married Knud Brahe 1584,
and died in 1622.

After Thisets Danish text: grethe bachmannDansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik BrickaProject Runeberg.

Tårupgård , Tårup sogn, Viborg amt.
Kaas, Niels, 1535-94,of Tårupgård , the king's kansler, 
youngest brother of Bjørn,Jens and Jørgen Kaas. Niels
was born at Stårupgård in Viborg Stift. He was named
after his father Niels Kaas (the Sparre-Kaas family with
a chevron in coat of arms), who died 7 months before
his birth; his mother Anne Bjørnsdatter Bjørn died, when
he was 5 years old.

His father's brother Mogens Kaas of Tårupgård, who was
an accountant-rural dean in Jelling Syssel and later
was cantor in Ribe chapter, took the role as a father
for the orphant boy and sent him to  a Viborg school,
which was managed by principal Oluf Nielsen Skytte,
whom Niels Kaas always later showed much gratitude for
the guidance in learning and good behaviour, he had given
him in his youth. After nine year at the school he had
learned what schools could present at that time, namely
besides a thorough religious knowledge, a good portion of
Latin, some Greek and some dialectic and rhetoric rules.

With this learning he was sent to Copenhagen in 1549,
where he by his elder brother Bjørn Kaas, who was his
guardian after his uncle's death, was placed in the
house of Dr. Niels Hemmingsen , who had many other
noble and civil boarders. Under his guidance Niels Kaas'
excellent inborn talents were developed. Niels
Hemmingsen praised him and predicted that he would
become a very special man. His learning extended,he
had theology, world's history and Danish history, ethnic
and legal studies. He kept during his life a friendship with
his old teacher, also when odds were against  Niels
Hemmingsen at the highest places and he had much bad

After 4 year's stay in Hemmingsen's house N.K wanted
to go to schools abroad. But first he made a visit to
his home in Jutland, where he after his uncle's death
probably was the owner of Tårupgård. During the travel
to Lybeck the ship was wrecked at Femern's coast and
he saved his life with dificulty. In May 1554 he was
immatriculated at Wittenberg, where he became one of
Melanchtons most diligent listeners. Also here he drew
attention caused by his excellent gifts. He later studied
in Frankfurt a.d. Oder and in Løwen.(Louvain) At the
last place, where he stayed for a long time , he visited
the front, when the French and Spanish armies fought
at St. Quentin.(1557)

He finally returned to Denmark, richer equipped with
learning than most contemporary noblemen. He especially
had a knowledge in history and political science, which
was not ordinary at that time, and skills in speaking Latin,
which was of importance then for those who wanted
higher offices within the State, especially when it came
to negotiations with foreign countries. Not long after
his homecoming he was engaged in the chancellery, and
here he was soon noticed for his business talents; he
was entrusted with important offices, especially during
the Nordic Seven Year-War, when the king on his
travels took with him kansler Johan Friis and first
secretary Hans Skovgård; and while they were away,
Niels Kaas took care of the part of the chancellery
which was in Copenhagen. In 1568 and 69 he participated
in the futile peace-negotiations with the Swedes in
Roskilde and at the country-border at Ulfsbæk. In 1570
he and the two rigsråds Peder Bille and Jørgen Rosenkrantz
were the Danish Government's representatives at the close
of the peace in Stettin like at the negotiation with
Sweden at Brømsebro in 1572.

After Johan Friis' death in 1570 Niels Kaas functioned
as the king's kansler, until he at the Herredag in May
1573 finally was appointed to this important and
responsible office, in which he, at least after
rigshofmester Peder Oxe's death (1575) became the
first man of the kingdom next to the king. A part of
his pay was St. Knuds kloster in Odense, besides
he had some lesser vasalries (Knubbelykke birk at
Lolland and Rynkeby at Fyn) plus Præbender (income)
in Roskilde and Viborg chapters. In 1577 he also got
Asmild kloster.

During many years as a kansler he was known to be
an honest and capable statesman. Frederik II
appreciated him and liked him around. The king was
sometimes difficult to associate with, but N.K most
often understood with careful cleverness to make him
understand what was best for the country/countries.
He was both mild and firm, which made him able to lead
difficult negotiations to a good result, i.e. in the long-
lasting lensstridigheder (feuds about vasalry) of Schleswig.
(1579,a question about succession after hertug Hans
den Ældre (1581) and the division with hertug Hans den
Yngre (1582)

As the king's kansler N.K. was also the kansler of the
University or the "top Konservator", an office where
his love for science made him perfect. Writers dedicated
their writings to him, which showed their trust in him.
He participated in Tyge Brahe's and Anders Vedel's
scientific work. And he loved history. Jakob Ulfeldt wrote
about him that he had such a memory and knowledge
about history that he could be compared to the best among
historians. He corresponded wih the learned Dr. David
Chytræus in Rostock who worked with the history of Norden
(Scandinavia). He was attentive to the importance of history
and meant that statesmen and the rulers had to value it
and learn from it. It was due to him that a history teacher
(Dr. Niels Krag) for the first time was appointed at the
University of Copenhagen.

The last 6 years of Niels Kaas' life demanded more cleverness,
patriotism and work than at any other point of his life.
When he stood at Frederik II's deathbed (4 april 1588) he
promised the dying king to take care of his surviving relatives,
and he was probably willing to do so, but later it was obvious
that it was not that easy to unite the consideration of respect
to the royals and the care for the country, which had to
be his first task, especially after the whole rigsråd 15 april
1588 handed over to him and three other men of its middle
to lead the government, as long as the elected prince
Christian (IV) was underage; it must be considered
a pay to NK's increased work that he at the same time
was endowed with Lekkende and later (1592) also with

But he had to fight large difficulties, it was said that NK
personally might have wanted queen dowager Sophie
given a role in the government of the kingdoms, but
the rigsråd wanted it in another way, and there were
many embarrassing negotiations with the queen and
her father, hertug Ulrik of Mecklenburg, negotiations,
which probably hurt a mild personality like Niels Kaas,
but during which he showed unshakably firmness
considering what was best for the country and the
elected king. Some historians (i.e. G.L. Baden) has
made the queen dowager's exclusion from the government
into a strong accusation against the oligarks in all and NK
especially. There were complaints that the elected king
was kept from an independent rule even after he in 1593
by the emperor was declared of age in hertugdømmerne.
Here were also difficulties to solve.

All in all, the politics NK chose was true Danish, moderate
and cautious, as little provocing to foreign countries as
possible and careful as to people's ability to pay taxes.
(...) In short: His good name and reputations was known
not only among Danes but also in foreign countries. (...)

It seems that the stressing job as a kansler, and the
embarassing feuds with the queen dowager were the
reasons that he aged too soon. He had felt weak for
some time, but still in the spring of 1594 he led the
negotiations of the rigsråd, but at midsummer he knew
he was about to die. He sent for the priest at Nicolai
kirke, Mester Isak Grønbæk. (...) A few days before
his death the young elected king came to him, the
other members of the rigsråd were present. Niels Kaas
gave the young king various advice, he especially asked
him to take care of the navy,which was the most
important in the defense of the kingdom; he told him,
which states and neighbours would be the best friends,
and he gave him a short general view over the existing
unions  and agreements with foreign countries.(...)
He finally gave him the keys  to the archive and the
Crown jewels and told him that he had promised his
late father that he would see to that his son was
crowned. (...) But since he now gave him the keys
of the kingdom, the young elected king had himself the
crown and the other royal insignias. (...) (It is impossible
to translate his whole speech, it is too old-fashioned)

Niels Kaas died 29 June 1594, 60 years of age.His funeral
service took place at 28 July in Vor Frue kirke (Domkirke)
in Copenhagen; the bishop of Sjælland P.V.Vinstrrup held
a preach over him.(...) After the funeral service Niels
Kaas' body was brought to Viborg domkirke to be buried
there. (...)

Rørdam, Kbvns universitets Hist. 1537-1621 II.
T. Lund, Christian IV's ship at Skanderborg Sø.

After H.F.Rørdam's Danish text: grethe bachmann Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik BrickaProject Runeberg.

The Family Løvenbalk,

AunsbjergDanmarks Adelsårbog xx1903 s289
Erik Christoffersen Løvenbalk.
Løvenbalk, jysk uradelsslægt (Jutland ancient nobility)whose
ancestor Erik Christoffersøn - who is not known from primary
sources - was the fruit of king Christoffer II's relationsship with
a lady of the ancient nobility family Lunge (Mette /Inge?) Lunge.
Erik Christoffersøn's sons were Niels (earliest 1377) and Johan
Eriksen, who in 1343 sealed with a coat of arms showing a
walking blue lion above two golden beams.

Niels Løvenbalk was the father of ridder Jens Nielsen (+ 1442) of
Aunsbjerg and Odsgård, who was great-grandfather of ridder
Mogens Lauridsen Løvenbalk (+ 1536) of Tjele, who maybe was
married to Genete Jacobsdatter Craigenfelt (Cragengelt) (+ 1567)
"The Scottish Woman", with whom he had the son Knud Mogensen
Løvenbalk (+ after 1598) of Kellerup with whom the family died

Jens Nielsen Løvenbalk (+ 1442) of Aunsbjerg, rigsråd, died
1. February 1442, buried at Gråbrødrekirken in Viborg,
his parents were Niels Eriksen Løvenbalk (+ earliest 1377)
and Sophie Johansdatter Rantzau. Married to Ellen Munk,
a daughter of Peder Munk (+ earliest 1367) of Holbækgård.
In 1424 Jens Nielsen Løvenbalk said that he was 80 years
of age and had been rigsråd for 40 years; this information
is hardly true, in the kept documentary material he is first
mentioned in 1396, and at that time he was still væbner.
The same year he became landsdommner in Nørrejylland,
and he kept this important office for a generation.

At the king's election in 1397 he was ridder and member of
rigsrådet, and from this time his name is often seen in
the official and private documents of that time. He became
especially wellknown when he in 1405 had to pay a humiliating
and costy penance for his killing the Jutland nobleman Jens
Jensen Brock of Clausholm. It seems though that he quickly
re-gained his respected position. Still in 1424 he was one of
the first secular magnates, who gave evidence in the
kejserprocessen (emperor process) about Sønderjylland, and
the same year he participated in settling the feud between
queen Philippa and bishop Ulrik of Århus about the
inheritance after his predecessor bishop Bo.After this time
his name is seldom seen, probably caused by his high age.

He and his wife's unusual large gravestone (a portrait stone),
which according to an untrue tradition was Hans Tausen's
rostrum at the first Lutheranian sermon in Viborg, was in
1786 moved to Hinge, where the original inscription was
removed; in 1835 it was brought back to Viborg and placed
in the garden Hans Tausen's Minde

After Thiset's Danish text: grethe bachmannDansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik BrickaProject Runeberg.

Jens Nielsen Løvenbalk and Ellen Pedersdatter Munk's daughter
Marine Jensdatter Løvenbalk was married to Jens Kaas of Kaas.
(mt. 1408-29). see Kaas-family

Løvenbalk, Mogens Lauridsen, - ab. 1536, of Tjele, ridder,
son of Laurids Mogensen Løvenbalk of Tjele and Maren Bille,
a sister of bishop Ove Bille. He was in 1523 endowed with
Nørlyng herred and was in 1525 in Scotland, where he as
Frederik I's messenger worked against Christian II. In 1529
he participated as skibschef/captain in Mogens Gyldenstiern'es
expedition to Akershus. He is mostly known for his relationship
to Genete Cragengelt "the Scottish Woman at Tjele". He died
ab. 1536, and Tjele came to his sister Maren Lauridsdatter
in her marriage to Erik Skram,  since Mogen's children with
Genete were not accepted as legitimate.

After A. Heises Danish text: grethe bachmann

Cragengelt, Genete Jacobsdatter, -- 1567, was a
Scottish lady of nobility, related to the counts of Montrose,
she came to Denmark together with ridder Mogens
Lauridsen Løvenbalk of Tjele, who had been in Scotland as
an envoy for Frederik I. He had two children with her, a
son and a daughter, but it seems that he treated her
only as a slegfredviv/mistress. She was not present at
his table, and at his death in 1536 he left her a considerable
fortune in personal property, but handed over Tjele to
Erik Skram, who was married to his sister.

First in 1557 the son, Knud Mogensen, tried to prove with
a deposition from Skotland that his parents were married
31. August 1525 in Robert Barton's house in Leith - a
strange place for an envoy of Frederik I, since Robert
Barton was an eager follower of Christian II. The verdict
was against Knud Mogensen, maybe because he had not
claimed his inheritance on time,  and Tjele remained as
Erik Skram's estate. Later Knud achieved good statements
about the about the validity of the marriage from the
Universities in Wittenberg and Copenhagen,  and at
Frederik III's intervention Erik Skram's children allowed in
1571 Knud Mogensen to use the coat of arms of Løvenbalk.
Genete had however died in 1567, she had bought Harlevholm
in Framlev herred and married a civil man,Hans Skriver. She
is buried in Harlev kirke and is at the gravestone called an
"ærlig og velbyrdig Frue " (an honest and noble lady), but
none of her husbands are mentioned.

Allen, breve og aktstk. til Christ. II's og Fred. I's Hist. I, 368,
Danske herregaarde VIII: Tjele.
Rørdam, Kbhvns Universitets Hist. 1537-1621 II, 39 ff.
Hist. Tidsskr. 5. R. I, 414 ff. 
After A. Heises Danish text: grethe bachmann
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik BrickaProject Runeberg.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

4 x Hvide, Aage,Niels, Ove & Skjelm Stigsen,

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
4 x Hvide
Aage Stigsen, Niels Stigsen, Ove Stigsen, Skjelm Stigsen.

Stigsen, Aage, --1170--, magnate, a son of Stig Hvide
(Hvidelæder) and Valdemar I's sister Margrethe, became
during the expeditions to the Wend a brave warrior.

He and his brother Niels won especially fame on their cousin,
hertug Christoffer's and Esbern Snare's Baltic-Sea expedition
against the Estonian and Kurland pirates (1170): Niels was
the first to storm the wooden castle the pirates had built
on the coast of Øland, but he would have been killed, if his
brother hadn't come to his rescue. Aage Stigsen got a
wound in the throat. At their homecoming they participated
in the famous Ringsted-meeting.

Aage Stigsen is probably the Aage, who 10 years later was
Gælker in Lund; when the peasants rebelled against the
king's men, he had to seek shelter in Lund's cathedral and
then he took flight to Valdemar. In spite of the objections
from the Scanians he was after the king's victory re-placed
in his office. Aage Stigsen was also among the noblemen,
who after Esbern Snare's flaming speech at the Odense-
meeting in 1188 took the cross in order to participate in the
liberation of Jerusalem, and he is said to have been the
eldest and wisest among the crusaders.The expedition first
started in 1191, and a long period of time was wasted in
Norway. When they finally reached the Holy Land, the
large western crusades had ended, and Jerusalem was
not conquered. Aage Stigsen and his companions had to
be content just to visit the Holy City as peaceful pilgrims
and then go home.(1192).

Aage Stigsen and his brothers Peder and Niels belonged to
the extensive, distinguished brotherhood in Knud
Valdemarsen's ruling period, according to the Broderlisten
(the members of brotherhood) they had their home in
Jelling Syssel (Southeast Jutland).

From Hans Olriks text: grethe bachmann.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik Bricka
Project Runeberg.

Roskilde Domkirke
Stigsen, Niels - 1249 - bishop, was a son of Stig Galen,
who was a son of Skjalm Hvide's son's son Toke Ebbesen.
His mother was Christine. Niels Stigsen belonged in this
way to Denmark's mightiest and most famous family. He
chose the clerical way, and when the message arrived
that bishop Peder Jacobsen of Roskilde had died, he was
elected his successor (1225).

Valdemar II was still in German prison, so Niels Stigsen
had to wait for his confirmation, the bishop-consecration
took place in 1226. Valdemar showed him his favor by in
1230 giving the island Saltholm to Roskilde bishopric.This
island had valuable limestone quarries. A few years later
he became the king's kansler, when bishop Niels of
Schleswig died.

Niels Stigsen had a prominent position among the bishops
of that time, and he was a very devoted cleric, he enforced
the privileges of his chapter, among this the free election of
canons, and he was considered a friend of the klosters.
Together with archbishop Uffe and bishop Gunner of Viborg
he tried to secure to Sorø kloster the estate, which Esbern
Snare's son Johannes Marsk had given to it, which his heirs
would not give up. (1233). He did not reach his goal in that
matter, but since Esbern Snares son's son Esbern Snerling
on his deathbed had given Sorø kloster a large part of
estate, and since his mother nonetheless still held it back ,
Niels Stigsen banned her 3 times and forced thereby the
accomplishment of the will.

Furthermore he made a lucky exchange of property
between Sorø and St. Peder's Kloster at Næstved, and this
kloster considered him its benefactor. He also contributed
considerably in the foundation of the Franciscan-kloster
in Roskilde 1237 which church he later inaugurated.(1239).
At the meeting in Stensby 1238, where Estonia was given
back by the German knights, and at the meeting in
Vordingborg in 1241, where Jyske Lov was proclaimed,
Niels Stigsen was present. In Vordingborg he shortly after
was present by king Valdemar's deathbed.

Ha also stood high in Erik Plovpenning's favour. It was still
known in 1244 that Erik in a matter about privileges followed
his "elskede kanslers" (beloved kansler's") request. But in
the year 1245 a change happened. Together with the other
bishops of the kingdom Niels Stigsen participated in the
wellknown Odense-meeting, which proclaimed a solemn curse
on everyone who offended against the estate and rights of
the church. This was aimed at the king, and king Erik took
away Niels Stigsen's kansler office because he had spoken
against him; he even accused him of that he together with
his family and friends wanted to take his life and kingdom
from him. After the break with the king Niels Stigsen must
have gone for support at his mighty family, but the same
year he took flight, first to Norway, later to France, where
he was partly by the pope in Lyon and partly in Clairvaux.

Thus the fatal enmity begun between Skjalm Hvide's family
and the kingdom. In connection to this was Niels Stigsen's
brother Juris killed, it was said by his own people. (1246).
The king had however taken all Niels Stigsen's private
property and his estate of the bishopric, among these
Copenhagen. Niels Stigsen sent a complaint to pope
Innocent IV, but from political reasons he treated the case
coldly and just let a legate make an investigation. The result
was against the king, and Niels Stigsen lit interdict over
Roskilde Stift, but the king defied and confiscated also
Jacob Erlandsen's estate, because he had talked his family
member's case to the pope. From this day on Innocents IV
behaved more determined against king Erik; he appointed
a tribunal to look at the case and put the king's enemy
bishop Eskil of Schleswig in the lead, he even threatened
the king with excommunication and interdict.

But then Niels Stigsen died during his stay in Clairvaux
(Not as a monk) 24 Sept. 1249. He was exiled for the liberty
of his church, but he got his grave upon one of the most
prominent places in the kloster-church, and his silvercrucifix
was kept there as a dear memory. The pope was now even
more strict against king Erik, but first after the king's death
1250 the properties were given back. The whole feud is
the prelude to the large fights between the kingdom and
the church in Denmark.

Hist. tidsskr. 6 R. VI, 626 ff.
Kirkehist. Saml. 4. R. III, 7 ff.
From Hans Olriks text: grethe bachmann.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik Bricka
Project Runeberg.

Stigsen, Ove - 1359, of Eskebjerg, was a son of the younger
Marsk Stig Andersen Hvide and is mentioned as Ridder in 1353,
but was then in prison in Holstein. In 1355 and 1356 he was
king Valdemar's kammermester (responsible for the king's
finances and the treasury), but he probably had to leave this
office, when his father in 1357 became the leader of the
rebellious Jutland nobility. In 1358 he and his father's brother
Peder Andersen of Margård with a royal granted safe passage
accompanied hr. Niels Bugge to agreement-negotiations with
king Valdemar in Slagelse at Christmas time. These negotiations
were however futile; they got interrupted - and on their
journey back the three men were attacked and killed by some
fishermen in Middelfart; people meant that the king had ordered
it. Ove Stigsen left a widow, Maren Jensdatter, a sister of
Palne Jensen Munk, who later became the king's marsk.

From Thiset's text: grethe bachmann.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik Bricka
Project Runeberg

Stigsen, Skjelm - 1292, drost.
Skjelm took over the difficult
office as the king's drost in the year 1291 when Erik Menved
had just got of age and was fighting his father's outlawed
killers, who had found a resort in Norway and who had a
connection to hertug Valdemar of Sønderjylland. Already
the year after Skjelm Stigsen was killed in presence of the
king by Erik (Langben ), the king's brother. There is no
further information about this.

From Kr. Erslev's text: grethe bachmann.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik Bricka
Project Runeberg.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Family Hvide, Skjalm & 3 x Stig

Skjalm Hvide & 3 x Stig Hvide
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon

Skjalm Hvide, -1102-, Høvding, belonged to a mighty
magnate-family. A late tradition mentions, that
his father was Toke Trylle; the allegation of the family's
descent from the legendary hero Palnatoke is against
Saxo's words and is in itself worthless. Skjalm Hvide had
properties widely upon Sjælland, mostly in the Sorø-area.
He early got the office to be the Jarl of his native island,
and he was Jarl when he followed Svend Estridsen in the
fight against Harald Hardrada at Niså (1062), where he
fought bravely ; but when the victory were on the side
of the Norwegians, he was wounded and taken prisoner;
at Gedesø he succeeded in escaping his jailers.

He's not heard of until in Oluf Hunger's ruling period. During
the turbulent conditions in the country his brother Aute
was attacked and killed by Wendic pirates on his way from
Sjælland to Falster. Without asking the king for help -
which else was a rule - Skjalm Hvide gathered a Sjælland
army, went to Julin and forced the inhabitants to hand over
the guys, who were guilty in his brother's death, and they
were killed under the most terrible torments. When Erik
Ejegod began his victorious expeditions against the Wends,
Skjalm Hvide was at his side, and after the conquering
Rügen he was appointed høvding of the island.

When king Erik and queen Bodil went on their great
pilgrimage in 1102, they left their little son Knud in Skjalm
Hvide's care; he thus became the fosterfather of one of
Denmark's most famous men. Some years later he sent
the young kongesøn (prince) to hertug Lothar of Sachsen,
and it is not certain that he ever saw his fosterson again.
Skjalm Hvide must have died ab. 1113, old of age. He was
buried in Fjenneslev kirke, which belonged to his hovedgård
(main farm/manor). Later his body was transferred to Sorø
by his son's son Absalon.

Skjalm Hvide had been the mightiest høvding in Denmark,
and he also became the ancestor of the migthiest stor-
mandsslægt (magnate-family), which ever lived among
the Danes. His four sons, Toke, Sune, Ebbe and Asser Rig
were all respected høvdinge, and from the two last
mentioned descend many of Denmark's most outstanding
men, most of all Absalon, Esbern Snare and Anders
Sunesen. Skjalm Hvide's descendants raised Denmark more
than any other family, as long as they worked together
with the kings; but when the friendship turned into enmity,
the "Hvide-ætten" (Hvide-family) caused the worst disaster
on folk and country.

Besides the four sons Skjalm Hvide had two daughters:
Cæcilia married Peder Thorstensen of Borg at Sorø;
Margrethe also got married, husband not known, but she
spent her widowhood at Roskilde Nunnery.

From Hans Olriks text: grethe bachmann.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik Bricka
Project Runeberg.

v. Essenbæk nedlagte kirke

Hvide, Stig - 1151 -Høvding, is known as the founder of
the impressive Benedictine-kloster Essenbæk at Randers
and as a follower of Svend Grathe and Valdemar. In the
battle at Viborg in 1151, where the two frænder won over
Knud Magnussen, Stig Hvide was killed.

He must be the "Stig Hvidelæder" (White Skin), who in the
Knytlinga-Saga is said to be married to Valdemar's eldest
sister, Margrethe. In this marriage was born Christine
(Kirsten), who married the Swedish king Carl Sverkersen
(1163) and became the mother of Sverker II. Stig Hvide
and Margrethe also had the sons Niels and Aage, who
distinguished themselves in the violent fight against the
Estonian and Kuriske pirates (1170). It is also told about
Aage, that he was the leader of the magnates, who
followed the pope's proclamation and went out to contribute
to conquer Jerusalem, but had to restrict to a peaceful
pilrimage (1191-93).

It is doubtful if the kæmpevise (giant folksong) "Ridder Stigs
Fald" as the kings brave standard bearer had Stig Hvide's
fall at Viborg as the starting-point, and the song about
Ridder Stig's attempt to win "Liden Kirsten's" love with
the help of magic runes - which work on the king's sister
Regitze instead - lack historical character.

Grundtvig, Danmarks gl. folkeviser II, 303. III,9.
Hans Olrik; Knud Lavard.
(Svensk) Hist.Tidsskrift 1891, S. 290.

From Hans Olriks texst:grethe bachmann

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik Bricka
Projekt Runeberg.


Hvide, Stig Andersen - 1293 - Marsk, belonged to the
mighty Hvide-family, which in the 1300s had such a radical
influence on Denmark's fate. We know nothing about Stig's
father; it is probable that the family properties especially
were placed in Aabo Syssel.

Stig was marsk and army chief, when Erik Glipping in 1275
sent an army of horsemen and infantry to Sweden in order
to help Birger Jarl's sons Magnus and Erik in their fight
against their brother Valdemar; after the allies had won
over the peasant-army at Hofva in Vester Gøtland,
Valdemar had to flee and was soon taken prisoner.

The following year Stig showed his first defiant step
against king Erik, when he at Danehoffet at Nyborg refused
to make oath of tribute to the young kongesøn, (prince)
Erik, which the other Danish magnates had consented to.
Stig kept his office as marsk, even though he undoubtedly
was one of the leaders of the politic party, which in the
following years tried to force constitutional decisions from
the king, which could secure a more statutory regime
in Denmark. When the tension was at its highest in spring
1282, the king gave in and issued the important obligation
letters of 19 March and 29 July, to which came some
regulations 2 years later. Stig was elected this year
(1284)to be one of the 11 arbitrators, who had to decide
the disputes about the sharing of the inheritance after
Erik Plovpenning.

Then king Erik was murdered at St. Cæcilia night
(22 Nov.) 1286 by a flock disguised men in Finderup Lade.
The rumor had no doubt that Stig was one of the
perpetrators. At the Danehof in Nyborg 1287 a tribunal
judged - only a few did not make an oath together with
the others - that grev Jacob of Halland, Marsk Stig,
Niels Hallandsfar, Peder Porse, Rane Jonsen and 4 others
were guilty of the murder; they were declared outlaws
and their property taken from them. This judgment was
confirmed by the archbishop and all bishops, and later
by king Rudolf of Habsburg. When the judgment was
taken up for a new trial in 1305, it was acknowledged
that there was no proof that Stig personally had been
at Finderup Lade, but nothing was changed in the
judgment, since Stig obviously had been one of the
leaders of the regicide.

The outlaws,however, had taken flight to Norway,
where king Erik Præstehader took them under his
protection. (1287). With Norwegian assistance and
supported by a few party colleagues in Denmark Stig
started the war against his own country. Middelfart
and Hindsholm were the first places to blaze up, and
soon after the expedition went to Jutland.(1288).
Erik Præstehader sailed in 1289 a fleet down to Øresund,
burnt down Helsingør (Elsinore) and placed the fleet
in front of Copenhagen; with a part of the army Stig
went from there to Samsø and captured the castle ,
then to Storebælt, where he burnt down Taarnborg
and Skælskør. Nykøbing Falster was haunted too, and
together with the Norwegian king Stig plundered the
southern islands. (Falster, Møn, Lolland, Langeland).

The fear had paralysed the Danish people, and Stig
could unhindered build himself a permanent "robber's
den" at Hjelm (1290), and grev Jacob built a similar
castle at Hunehals in Nørrehalland;both estates were
declared Norwegian property. From these permanent
places the outlaws conducted a war against Denmark
for some years. But Stig died already in 1293;
according to a later tradition his body was secretly
brought to a church at Hindsholm.

The historic sources are scarce and with a strange
silence around the many circumstances, even though
these events were so important in Denmark's history,
and although Stig adopted a principal part in the
movement against the dynasty. In return has the folk
-tradition described a living figure of the proud marsk.
No better songs have been written than the folksongs,
which in imaginative picttures tell about Stig's bloody
deed and the state of the country in the lawless times,
when " there were so many involved in this in
Denmark, and they all wanted to be king" - and "Hjelm
had grown horn" (Stig's castle) and an old expression
that "Landet stander i våde", strictly meaning that
Denmark was in a terrible mess.

The folksongs tell that while the marsk was at war,
his beautiful wife was raped by the king ; at Stigs
homecoming she dared not to go meet him, but she
confessed that she had "become queen of Denmark".
She urged him to revenge, and Stig confronts the king.
The murder in Finderup Lade is described in moving
scenes; the marsk then rides to the king's castle
openly declaring his deed, which resulted in his
banishment. In the historical documents and other
contemporary sources are only mentioned political
reasons for the conspiracy, and nothing is said about
a personal motive for revenge.

Some folksongs describe that Stig's young daughters
sadly went from land to land in order to seek protection;
this is not confirmed by other sources. A papal
permission says that a man named Johannes Esre had
betrothed a daughter of Stig in order to smooth out
a family feud between his and Stig's family; she died,
only 12 years of age, and Johannes got permission
to marry a sister's daughter of Stig, named Inge. The
Norwegian Hakon Thoresen was probably married to a
daughter of Stig.

In 1309 king Erik gave back the property of the outlaws
to their wives and children; in return they had to sell it,
and they had to live outside the kingdom.

Suhm, Hist. af Danmark X, XI.
Munch, Det norske Folks Hist. IV, 2.
Grundtvig, Danmarks gl Folkeviser III.
Jørgensen, Bidrag til Nordens Hist. i Middelald. S. 113. f.
J. Steenstrup, Vore Folkeviser S. 262 f.
Hist. Tidsskr. VI, 452 f.; 4. R. IV, 90 f.
Ny kirkehist. Saml. III, 390.
Archiv f. nord. Filologi IX, 219 f.

From Johannes C.H.R. Steenstrups tekst: grethe bachmann

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik Bricka
Projekt Runeberg

Bjørnholm(nu Høgholm)

Hvide, Stig Andersen - 1369 - of Bjørnholm (now
Høgholm) and Tygestrup, a son of Anders Stigsen and
Margrethe Nielsdatter Lendi; he was named after his
paternal grandfather, the famous marsk Stig. At
Christoffer II's accession to the throne (1320) the
marsk's family returned to Denmark, and Stig
Andersen got back a great part of the family's old
property at Sjælland; Fyn and in Jutland. He let build
his permanent castle Bjørnholm (now Høgholm) by
the main road between Grenå and Århus, and from
here he lead until his death the oppositon of the Jutland
nobility against the royal power. He was already in 1325
in the king's council, and from 1331, when he after the
battle at Lohede supported grev Gert and became his
marsk, he shared the leadership in Jutland with Niels
Bugge of Hald. Grev Gert gave him estate in Jutland,
and among others Niels Ebbesen had to witdraw from
Stig in a feud about some estate.

After grev Gert got killed, he became king Valdemar's
man, and Valdemar understood to appreciate his brilliant
qualities, when he appointed him statholder (viceregent)
of Estonia after the Estonian rebellion in 1343. He lead
negotiations with the German Order about the sale of
Estonia and returned to Denmark in 1347, enriched with
the castle Linde as a vasalry of the German Order.
It seems that he had the king's trust, for in 1352 he
was one of the men, whom the king entrusted with the
rule of the kingdom during his absence. But the mood
changed, when the king started his large reduction of
the estate, which once belonged to the Crown. Stig
Andersen lost the estate which grev Gert had given
him, and he became the leader of the dissatisfied
Jutland nobility. The rebellion broke out in 1357, and
it was his son and brother, who together with Niels
Bugge were killed in Middelfart at New Year's Eve 1359.

But while the Bugge-family quickly reconciled to the king,
Stig Andersen continued the war. His estates at
Sjælland and Fyn were confiscated, but he himself
stayed unshakably at his permanent castle Bjørnholm,
until the agreement in 1360 brought and end to the fight
between the king and the Jutes. Stig Andersen sealed
it as the first of the secular councellors, and from that
time he was again used frequently in the service of
the kingdom. His close relations to drost Claus Limbæk
and the mighty Iver Rosenkrantz were sealed in 1362 by
marriage between his son's son Jens Ovesen and
Claus Limbæk's daughter Elisabeth, while his son's daughter
Tove married Iver Rosenkrantz.

Its political importance was obvious when Stig Andersen
and Claus Limbæk in 1367 again were the leaders of
the Jutland nobility, fighting king Valdemar. During this
war Stig Andersen died in 1369 after having given
considerable estate to churches and klostre, especially
to Antvorskov kloster. He and his wife Tove were buried
in Essenbæk kloster, from where his body later was
transferred to Ørsted kirke in Rougsø herred.

Estrup, Saml. skrifter II, 274 ff.
Danske Herregårde IV: Kongsdal og V: Høgholm.

From Mollerups text: grethe bachmann

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon,
Carl Frederik Bricka
Projekt Runeberg

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Danish Titles in the Middle Ages

Væbner,a Danish title used in the Middle Ages. Originally an armed warrior, who in return for doing active service had exemption for taxation. In højmiddelalderen came the riddervæsen (knighthood) to Denmark and a ridder was a væbner who had received the accolade. Væbner was also a commonly used term for a ridder's assistant.

Højmiddelalder/High Middle Ages = beginning of the century until the first half of the 1400s.

Ridder (or Old Danish knægt), was a warrior on horseback, he is also an ichon for a period in Europe's history, named the Middle Ages. Ridderen was especially in High Middle Ages the far most strongest military unit, and his status was very high. Up til about 1000 the ridder was not considered much more than a simple professional soldier on horseback, but during the following century the warriors on horseback developed into an elite force. Later after year 1100 some special aristocratic ideals developed (ridder-idealer); which marked and elevated this warrior type, ideals still alive today. The English title knight became in Danish ridder or knægt, which are loan words from German Ritter & Knecht.

Jarl, (like English earl maybe familiar to the name herul or Old Norse erilar, a title forf distinguished people, a Nordic name for a stormand (magnate). Jarls are known from all Scandinavia in 900-1300. They could have prominent offices as the king's highest official, i.e. as the ruler of a special part of the kingdom. Knud Lavard had probably the title Jarl in Schleswig. Sometimes the jarl had the supreme power, i.e. Hakon Jarl Sigurdsson in Norway in the 900s and Birger Jarl in Sweden in the 1200s, or the jarl was the king's substitut like Ulf Jarl was in Denmark in the 1000s. In Iceland jarls are known in the 1200s. Later the jarl-title was replaced by hertug. (In Denmark : Hertug i Sønderjylland)

Hertug is a fyrstetitel/prince-title. The word comes from German meaning hærfører (leader of the army), and the title comes from the German-Roman Emporium. In Scandinavia the old title jarl was used before hertug replaced it. Hertugen's office was originally to secure the kingdom's borders as a vasal for the king, and that's why hertugdømmer (the duchies) earlier often were in the edges of the kingdom. Knud Lavard was in the 1100s the first Danish hertug, when he became hertug of Schleswig. But also Lolland, Halland and Estland were hertugdømmer in the 1200s with the Danish king as their vasal.

In 1474 Christian I was made hertug of Holstein by the German-Roman emperor on the condition that the two hertugdømmer Schleswig and Holstein must never be divided. This strengthened the growing conflict of interests between the kingdom and hertugdømmerne, which gradually took a still more independent position, especially in the Gottorp-sections.

Today there are no Danish hertuger outside the royal family. But Frederik VI let himself be persuaded in 1818 to ennoble the French Elie de Decazes as hertug of Glücksbierg in preparation for a marriage befitting his rank. Although the family is living in France it is a Danish hertug-family.

Drost, was in the early Middle Ages the king's official, the supreme adviser of the king; and he was sometimes his substitute and could control accounts and be a judge on his behalf. In Denmark the office ceased at Henning Podebusk's death in 1388 and was under Erik 7. of Pommern in the beginning of the 1400s replaced by rigshofmesterembedet.

Marsk or rigsmarsk (from 1536) was the title of the supreme army chief of the Danish kingdom from the beginning of the 1200s until the establishment of Enevælden (absolute monarchy) in the 1600s. It was the third most important office after rigshofmesteren(was once titled drost) and kansleren . He was appointed by the king and had to be born a Danish nobleman. In periods the king let the office be without a leader in order to be the supreme war chief himself. From 1380/81 until 1440s the office was without a marsk.

From the beginning the marsk was one of the king's officials, and Marsk Stig called himself "kongens marsk", Regis Danorum Marscalus, shortly before he in 1287 at the Danehof in Nyborg was accused and convicted for the murder of Erik Klipping. Later in the Middle Aces the marsk became rigets marsk (marsk of the kingdom rather than the king's marsk) , which was signaled by changing the title into rigets marsk Marscalus Regni. The last rigsmarsk in Denmark was Anders Bille who died in Swedish prison in 1657 shortly before the establishment of Enevælden and Joachim Gersdorff, who very shortly kept the office from 1660 till his death in 1661.

Marsk comes from German marschalk: staldmester, rytterianfører, from old German marha, hest and skalk, tjener, originally stalddreng. (stable boy). The name is known from the 700s in Lex Alamannorum. Rigsmarskal or rigsmarsk was later a military title for a marschall over a country and was used both in Germany, France and Great Britain as the supreme military title.

Kansler; in Denmark has existed two kanslerembeder, (offices as chancellor) namely kongens kansler (cancellarius ) and rigskansler (justitius), in literature sometimes named justitiar. The first mentioned title is the oldest. Queens and heirs to the throne had at times officials named kansler.

Unusually Roskilde's bishop Jens Andersen Lodehat was on three occassions (1419,1421 and 1423) named the supreme kansler of the kingdom (summus cancellarius regni nostri Dacie, rigens i Danmark øverste Kansler og des riikes to Dennemarken ouerste kentzeler). The same title emerged shortly in connection to two bishops in Roskilde: Johan Jepsen Ravensbjerg and Joachim Rønnow.

The supreme kansler, rigskansler, was the kansler of the kingdom, he used and kept the seal of the Danish kingdom, the second kansler was the king's kansler taking care of Erik of Pommern's Unionssekret. The title supreme kansler is first in use used after the establishment of the Kalmar Union. .

The king's kansler functioned as the leader of the royal kancelli. The name cancellarius was on occassions used in the 1400s about common officials in the kancelli. The office was through the Middle Ages occupied by a clerical, which is quite natural referring to that the clericals almost were the only ones with a necessary education. The king's kansler often achieved high offices inside the church after a period in the kansler-office and became i.e. bishops. Besides working in the kancelli the king's kansler was often employed in foreign politics, where he often functioned more like a secretary than a negotiator.

Gælker = the king's gælker was responsible for duty, tax etc. At times he was also the king's top official.

Høvedsmand (= hovedmand eller overhoved) (i.e. head of a family), is an old name for a person who rules or administrate an area ,i.e. as a lensmand, statholder, slotsherre (vasal, viceregent, lord of the castle). The word also covers the meaning: chief of army, like Skjalm Hvide who was høvedsmand (chief of army) at Zealand. In the Middle Ages a royal høvedsmand took care of the Danish Crown's estate as a vasalry, so the name høvedsmand has a broader meaning, but was often used as a synonyme for vasal ; and later amtmand.(administrator of district)

Staller, (from medieval Latin stabularius 'staldmester' (chief of stables), a medieval term for an official, attached to the hird.(the king's men). It is known in Denmark from the 1100s, but origins possibly from the Viking period. Staller was originally just a synonyme for a court official and not a certain function, but gradually it became a person, who judged in matters of the hird and took care of the king's stable business and travels, i.e. tasks which later was taken over by the Marsk.

Landsdommer was before 1805 a term for a legally judging member of a *landsting.(landsting in the Middle ages = a medieval regional assembly).

Rigsråd had to meanings: Rigsrådet was an assembly of magnates and at the same time rigsråd was the title of a member of this assembly. Rigsrådet was from the end of the 1200s a råd (counsel) of the magnates of riget (kingdom), in the beginning clericals as well as nobility . It existed up till the introduction of Enevælden ( the king's absolute power) in 1660. Before the reformation were 30 members of rigsrådet, but in the 1600s only 23. The king summoned the rigsråd and appointed rigsråderne, who had the title for life. The power between the king and the rigsråd changed during times , but often the rigsråd had an influence on public matters like law reforms, and appointments and dismissals of officials and vasals. The rigsråd also took care of the rule during the accession of a new king . The rigsråd had both legislative and administrative authority and can be compared to Overhuset (House of Lords) or the Senate in other countries. From the 1400s Stændermøderne ( the Assembly of the Estates of the Realm) functioned like Underhuset. (House of Commons).


Greve was a German title in the Middle Ages., i.e. Grev Gerhard/Gert of Holstein

The title greve is not a Danish title in the Middle Ages. Grev Gerhard/Gert was a German Graf from Holstein. In some family books on the net family members from the Middle Ages are equipped with the title greve or grevinde, but there was no one titled greve or grevinde in Denmark at that time.

Nobility/The Aristocracy/Dansk: Adel

is the term of the highest social class in a country , which has some privileges and from the first beginning several commitments. Nobility has existed through many centuries and in many civilizations.

In Denmark some respected men rose above the peasants from about year 1000. They occupied the job as styresmænd , a position which was inherited in the male line. Next came hirdsmændene, the king's huskarle who had sworn him oath of allegiance. These two classes melt together during Valdemarstiden and the frame were extended. A new class emerged; the so-called herremænd. They committed themselves to do active service, and in return they escaped the taxes which were established at that time.

During the Middle Ages the Danish kings grew more dependent on herremændene, caused by the fact that wars were being fought with horsemen and borge (fortificated castle) were built. Herremændene attempted to limit the king's power by coronation charters. There were power-struggles between king and nobility, and the kingdom was beginning to dissolve in the first decades of the 1300s, where the Holstein nobility under grev Gerhard were beginning to take over the power in Denmark. During Valdemar Atterdag and queen Margrethe I the king's power was re-stabilized at the expense of the nobility and many adelsborge were destroyed.

From now on the Danish Adel changed into a fødselsadel (born to be) and the coat of arms began to play an important role; from about 1525 it was ordered to take a family name. Herremændene could take fines from their undergivne (subordinates), and they achieved gradually extended jurisdiction over them.

During Frederik I the nobility actually had hånds- og halsret (power of life and death) over the peasants , but during Grevens Fejde (the civil war), the union of the king's power and the nobility succeeded with difficulty in crushing the peasant-rebellion. This brought the two parts together for good, and from that on the Danish nobility became much more the servants of the state and the king and could go on securing their privileges.

The technological development in warfare had caused that the high specialized ridder on horseback was out of date, the same concerned his fortificated borg. The gunpowder and the development of firearms made the ridder and his borg worthless.

Den danske Adel now established a new lifestyle. They placed themselves upon grand and well-respected jobs as rigsråder (state council) or lensmænd (vasals). Others went to universities at home or abroad or surrounded themselves with great luxury, and magnificent herregårde (manors)were built.

When disasters began pouring in over Denmark in the end of Christian IV's ruling period, the nobility was badly affected, and their fall was finally sealed under Fredrik III, when Enevælden (absolute monarchy) was established in 1660. From being maybe the most priviliged class in Europe den danske adel became the maybe less priviliged. It had no longer special access to offices and no exemption from taxation. In 1670 the nobility got exemption for taxation of the hovedgårdstaksten (their main farm's taxation), but this became more of a burden, since the nobility now had to answer for their fæstebønders taxes. (fæstebønder = peasants working for/and belonging under a herremand with no possibility of leaving = adscript. ) Before year 1700 the main part of the Danish adelsgods (nobility estate) was handed over to other owners.

In order to lend lustre to the Crown the kings now began to gain a new nobility by ennobling civilians and naturalize foreign nobility, and in 1671 Christian V founded a new højadel (high class nobility) consisting of lensgrever and lensbaroner with far more extended privileges than the other nobility had. Den danske adel had got a new character. It was totally dependent on the king's mercy, it was equipped with honorable rights and social privileges. It was especially represented at court, in the corps of the officers and at high posts. Especially the højadel had got a German mark.

Grundloven in 1849 ophævede " enhver i Lovgivningen til Adel, Titel og Rand knyttet Forret". (abolished any by law attached priority of nobility, title or rank.)

Den danske Adel includes today ab. 5000 persons and 189 families. A list in Dansk Adels Årbog.

Den danske uradel and den jyske uradel is the nobility which was in Denmark before the king began ennobling civilians and foreign nobilities.

uradel = ancient nobility
the Danish prefix ur = means ancient , i.e. the Danish word urtid =prehistoric times.